Most pre-teens are excited to become teenagers. You are told growing up that being a teenager is fun, as you will get more freedom. But with freedom comes responsibility and peer pressure from society. Many teenagers are so determined to have fun that they turn into someone they are not. Teenage binge drinking is an epidemic which caused approximately 189,000 emergency rooms visits by people under age 21 for injuries and other conditions linked to alcohol in 2010 (“Fact Sheets – Underage Drinking”, 2016).
Although individuals under 21 are unable to purchase alcohol in the United States, people aged 12-20 are responsible for drinking nearly 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States (“Fact Sheets – Underage Drinking”, 2016). According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, underage drinkers consume more alcoholic beverages per occasion than adult drinkers. This depicts the tendency of teens to binge drink very easily, either with silly beer pong games or just simply trying to seem cool and fit in with everyone else.
It is obvious that teenage drinking does occur, however, society must acknowledge that teenage binge drinking occurs more often than we think. We need to inform our youth of the dangers of binge drinking and make them aware of a few important facts so that they avoid going overboard:
- 1. Binge drinking can lead to alcohol poisoning, which can be fatal.
2. Alcohol poisoning can result from 15 drinks in a 2-3 hour span for a 160 pound male or 9 drinks in a 2-3 hour span for a 120 pound female.
3. Each hour after you drink, your blood alcohol level decreases by 0.015, so spreading out drinks over a longer time period is much safer than drinking all at once.
4. Frequent binge drinking can lead to liver disease, high blood pressure, strokes, and other health concerns.
5. Binge drinking is categorized as 4 drinks for the average female and 5 drinks for the average male.
6. 1 drink is equivalent to 12 oz. beer, 8-9 oz. of malt liquor, 5 oz. of table wine, or a 1.5 oz. shot of distilled spirits.
7. Drinking on an empty stomach exacerbates the effects of alcohol.
8. Drinking while on medication can be extremely dangerous due to drug metabolism and interactions within the body.
Most importantly, if you ever see anyone who you suspect may have alcohol poisoning, call for help. Individuals with alcohol poisoning appear to be passed out and difficult to arouse. Many colleges have alcohol amnesty policies that encourage students to call for help when they need it without worrying about whether or not they will get in trouble.
Edited by: Alyssa Bent, Michelle Li, and Shreya Singireddy